Water curtains, chutes must for high-rise buildings

Water curtains, chutes must for high-rise buildings

The Fire and Emergency Services Department has made it mandatory for buildings that cross 60 metres height to have water curtains and chutes to obtain a no-objection certificate.

Addressing a seminar on “Disaster Management and Fire Safety” organised by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Fire and Emergency Department Joint Director D Rasheed said new measures had to be in place in addition to the already existing ones such as water sprinklers recommended under the National Building Laws.”

He said in an attempt to ensure prevention or spread of fire and help evacuation, these measures had to be put in place.

He explained that water curtains that will be put near doors or exit points would prevent the heat and smoke from penetrating, and thus help minimise the impact of disaster.

“These are fitted with detectors and will slide down automatically and compartmentalise the place in case there is fire,” he said.

The chute, which will act as an escape tunnel for people to jump down a few floors, will aid easy escape. Designed with flexible material that is fire-proof, the same needs to be put in place for NoC.

The chute will be designed in a way to provide grip for a person.

“If the person wants to slide down, all he has to do is contract himself by folding the hands tight. In case there is a need to stop in between, he will have to expand his arms and he will be firmly gripped to the walls of the chute,” Rasheed explained.

Fire and Emergency Services Director General of Police, Om Prakash, said even as there were measures to tackle the fire from outside, the measures would not be effective.

“There are challenges like velocity of wind and height due to which the operation might not be successful. Thus, it is ideal we battle it from inside,” he added.

The government has also agreed to provide a 90-metre aerial ladder imported from Finland at a cost of Rs 25 crore.

However, Prakash said it had limitations as it was not easily portable. “It is important for us to be prepared with a built-in system,” he said. |

Disaster Management Committee Chairman B Amarnath said the department received over 10,800 calls in 2014.

“Three hundred sixty-two lives were rescued and property worth 43.18 lakh saved,” he said, adding that the number of high-rise buildings were going up in Mangalore, Hubli and Dharwad.

Fire accidents

IGP K L Sudheer said 23,000 people die in the country each year due to fire accidents, according to the National Crime Bureau statistics, and most were women.

He added that 40-45 per cent claims in insurance companies were related to fire accidents.

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